As we near the end of the calendar year, all sales people are in 1 of 3 frames of mind right now:
1. Shopping online and planning their holiday vacation
2. Setting up next year for a fast start
3. Stressed out while trying to just get close to their quota
If you find yourself identifying with #3 above, here are a few things to think about as you work against the clock to make your sales goals this year.
The first thing you need to remember is that your existing clients and contacts are your quickest source for new revenue. Start by contacting all of your existing clients to ensure they are totally satisfied with your products and/or services. Assuming they are all pleased with you and your company, look for an opportunity to book another order today or ask them if they would like to pre-order for next year. Also, remember to sell wide. Ask your clients what other departments or business associates could benefit from your great solutions.
If you are behind in your numbers let’s assume it is because you have lost a lot of deals this year and not because you can’t find the deals to begin with. Not being able to find deals is a different problem and often the marketing department will share in some of the blame for this… (not that your boss wants to hear that!) But, I digress. Those losses are a great potential source of quick revenue. You might be scratching your head on this one, but think about it... What are the components of a good sales opportunity? They are:
- Admitted business problem or need
- Identified decision maker
- Approved budget
- And clear time-frame
Many of the deals you "lost" might not have not been awarded to the competition yet. These opportunities should have most of these elements in place already. However, if the loss was to a different internal priority, your next move is to make sure that the competing project has been approved and find out if the project is delivering the return on investment that was expected. If it isn’t, then the door may be cracked for you to re-engineer the vision of how to solve the business challenge/opportunity with your solution. This can be a quick win because the decision maker is already familiar with you and your offering, and there is already a budget and time-frame established. This should be a shorter sales cycle than identifying and developing an opportunity from scratch.
Finally, it is time to expand your mind. One of the fastest ways to generate new opportunities for a business is through partnerships. But partnerships don’t have to only exist at the corporate level. In my experience, the best partnerships are the ones that are developed and cultivated at the rep and team level in a specific territory or vertical market. Talk to your customers about the other products and services that they purchase and that they love. Ask them if they would introduce you to their account manager for these solutions. Assuming there is no conflict of interest; set lunch meetings with these recommended account mangers. Investigate if they are willing to informally share client project information or even do joint sales calls when appropriate.
The best way to make a new partnership take-off quickly is to make the first move. If you bring the new partner into one of your accounts they will be compelled to return the favor with an introduction to one of their clients. Now you have new leads and you are walking into the prospect’s office with a recommendation from a trusted source. This is great way to enter an account.
The key is to be creative and to get moving. I am always surprised to find sales people that are behind on their numbers will slow down as they get more and more discouraged. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Energy creates energy. Break up the routine and get moving!